They say they’re coming out of Gaza. The protest quilt is done, a white-hot quick flash — like the news of this war as a flash amidst all the other themes in the news these days: gloom and hope, change and crumbling systems, and this flash of conflict against the always-looming dark clouds of the Middle East. Like I said, I don’t pretend to understand it.
I finished an amazing novel today. In the Skin of a Lion. The kind of novel that had me sitting at a cafe table longer than I intended in the 35-degree heat, clenching and unclenching one hand on the empty table (my plate long-gone), reading out the last few pages. Impervious to office boys in suits, yakking close at the next table. Close the book with a deep sigh.
It’s probably the sixth time I’ve read Michael Ondaatje’s book, but I keep hazy memories of it every time — only an image here and there (the men off to work in the dark morning; the red dog, August; sleeping amongst mushrooms in Italian darkness; the blue man on the roof). Beauty, sorrow, violence and pain — the feelings I had while I was stitching that Protest quilt — they’re all there in the book.
Somehow the heart glows amidst militarism; sometimes it’s spiky. We walk large in the skin of the brave lion; we become something else; we are small and we slip through – to dance, defiant.